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A Guide to Master the Art of Ink Drawings

Priya Johnson
Western, Chinese, or Japanese ink drawings are all truly fascinating pieces of art being valued all across the globe. Abstract ink drawings can be mastered with a little practice. Once you get hold of the nibs and pen strokes that suit your style, then, the rest is sure to flow easily ...
Art is a wonderful way of bringing out what's in the heart on paper or canvas. Painting, sketching, etc., are different ways of expressing one's feelings, desires, and dreams in the tangible form.
Pencil sketching is a fine form of art. It's amazing to see what a simple stick of graphite, led, can do! But, have you ever finished your pencil drawing and wondered why it still feels incomplete or insubstantial? Well, try inking your drawings. It really brings out the depth in the drawing and gives a more definite look. Ink drawings are worth trying out!

Material Required


Get pencils that aren't too hard, because the hard ones will leave their impressions on the paper, and won't give good results once the inking is done. However, this doesn't mean you need not get pencils with dark graphite. The darker the graphite, the less pressure you need to apply.

Ink Pens

You can get the inexpensive standard dip pen holders and nibs for inking. You can experiment with a variety of nibs and find which suits your liking and style.


Pigment ink is a good option because it doesn't fade on heavy watercolor paper.
Chinese ink drawings are seen to last far more than the Western ink drawings. This is because of the ink used. The Chinese use India inks or Chinese ink sticks which are more long-lasting. Try to get this ink if possible.

Pen and Ink Drawings

Pencil Outline

In order to prepare a pen and ink drawing, it is first important to have a pencil outline ready. Thus, it should be called pencil and ink drawings instead of pen and ink! Nevertheless, have a pencil outline for your ink drawing ready. You can take inspiration from photographs of nature, animals, etc., or can pencil down something from your own imagination.

Ink Outline

Onto the fine pencil outlines, make bold and defined ink outlines. Don't scribble some lines, but make neat outlines with the ink pen.
Once all the major lines of the pencil drawing have been inked, go over them once again, this time making thicker lines. Depending on the picture, make some lines thicker than the others. You could use different nibs to get different effects.

Adding Texture using Pen Strokes

There are several pen strokes that you can use to add texture to your drawing. There is the cross hatching or pointillism technique that one can adopt for, which can be used alone or in combination.

Cross Hatching Technique

In this technique, there is a series of different lengths of parallel lines drawn that are crossed with another series of lines.
The two series of line overlap or cross at various angles, different widths, etc., and give a cross hatching effect. Mostly, the first series of lines would be vertical, the next would be horizontal and the third would be at an angle of 45 degrees, etc. Some other forms of hatching techniques are contour hatching, scumbling and random hatching.


In pointillism technique, instead of lines we have dots that are created on the paper in such a way that the white space between two dots cannot be seen. The closer the dots are made, the darker the tone. However, this technique can be tedious and it's advised to play music and dot with the beat, to keep the monotony away.
Errors in pen and ink drawings cannot be erased, which can be a problem. Once the ink hits the paper, it's permanent, and this can prove nasty at times.
However, don't let this discourage you. With practice you will be more comfortable with the technique and the errors will decrease substantially. A look at the finished drawing will bring a smile to your face and the effort is worth it!